Hey folk, ShadowMajin here. Hard to believe I haven't posted a story in awhile, but I'm back, and that's what matters! Today I bring to y'all my first non-DBZ fic and I'm very excited about it. This story is the first in a long series I have planned, along with help...a lot of help...from AnonymousVoid. When he heard my idea for this story series, he wanted in and has been helping me along the way. Hope everyone enjoys it.

"Would ya look at this? Crime up 15 percent. Bloody shootout at Italian's turf. What is world coming to?"

Dmitry took his eyes off his switchblade and looked at his partner, Boris. Boris was reading out of the latest issue of the Gotham Star, his broken English doing the headlines a disservice. The scruffy-looking guy had the paper wide open, revealing in bold print the main headline—the skyrocketing crime rate. Apparently the Italian's shootout had been relegated to the back pages.

"15 percent, eh?" he replied as he rolled his eyes, his attention going back to his knife, twiddling with it with his fingers. "How they know? Is there measurement they have?"

"Must be Italian's fault," Boris surmised noncommittally as he chewed loudly on a wad of tobacco, closing the paper and crumpling it into a large ball. Casually, he tossed the ball to a side, the paper wad bouncing on the dirty sidewalk along with the rest of the litter-covered street. The street cleaners needed to do a better job here, or else the Boss might start taking issue. Every other street in the city could go to hell, but as long as his street was kept clean, the Boss would be content.

And when the Boss was content, everyone was better for it.

But then, the streets always looked like that. The lights of the streetlights showed off the soiled streets and overloaded trashcans. Gotham was just a beaten, polluted city—always had been, always will be. In a way, it reminded Dmitry of the Motherland. It was quite comforting.

The buildings themselves weren't that much better than the streets. Graffiti covered most of the building fronts, some designs huge, others small. Most had a common theme, though; the designs on this particular street marked it as belonging to the Russian mob. The Boss, Mashkov, wanted it known that this was his turf and anyone that wanted to do business there had to do it through him—just like in the Motherland.

There were other people here too, though they avoided the dilapitheted-looking building that Dmitry and Boris stood in front of. They knew better than to go anywhere near that building. Vagrants, all of them.

"Everything is Italian's fault," Dmitry stated as he flicked his knife shut and stuffed it into his pocket. He then held his hands in front of his face, blowing hot air from his wide-open mouth in an attempt to warm them up. He did his best to ignore Boris' loud lip smacking—such a raucous sound… "They are unsophisticated and have no art."

"I do not know what word you used there, but," Boris paused as he spat out a wad of tobacco-infused spit, "that is what I think of Italian's crew."

"Crude," Dmitry sniffed, rubbing his hands together, heating his hands with the friction.

Before their enlightening conversation could continue, the glare of headlights had both Dmitry and Boris straightening out their posture. They held their stances until a dark car came to a stop in front of them, perfectly parked next to the sidewalk. They had been waiting for this car to show up all night. The lights dimmed and shut off as the driver and front passenger side door opened, two large men in expensive suits stepping out, stony expressions on their face. The one that emerged from the passenger side door closed his door and immediately opened up the back passenger side door. This time a skinny-looking man came out, he too wearing a suit. He seemed quite bored to be there, but then he was required to be here. Only a fool ignored a summons from Mashkov.

"You are expected," Boris greeted, moving to the front door of the building and opening it. Dmitry moved out of the way of the skinny man, allowing him to head to the door unimpeded. His name was Neski, one of Mashkov's lieutenants.

And just like a man in high esteem of the Mob, he replied snootily, "Of course I'm expected here." Unlike most of the Russians here, he had managed to perfect his English; that was something not even Mashkov had bothered with. "I wouldn't be here otherwise."

Both Dmitry and Boris kept their faces blank, not daring to glance at one another, but they both had the same thought. Prick. Neski was good at what he did, so there was no question of his position in the family, but that still didn't mean he had to be such an asshole. One day his usefulness to the family would end and he'd have to be disposed of—and there was a line of people stretching around the block that would love to have the opportunity. Though, there were plenty of others just like Neski in the family.

Fortunately, Neski was the last to arrive. Good thing too, Dmitry was getting bored playing doorman. It was time to get this meeting underway.

Vladimir Mashkov watched as Neski and his men entered the room, Neski taking a seat at the table as the "hired help" stood behind him. The table itself was of poor quality, a distorted, ruined piece of craftsmanship that Mashkov wouldn't have looked twice at had he no need of this building. Yet he did. It was one thing to hold family matters in the streets of Gotham; it was another to have them at the Ritz Carlton. Some places just weren't meant for unsavory matters.

That was the only reason why he was even in this rundown building. It had been a former shop for something Mashkov didn't care to remember. The former tenants had left it to rot some years ago, just letting it sit there uselessly until he had bought it and made it his meeting place. Just because it was shithole on the outside didn't mean he let it waste away. The inside of the room had been renovated, replacing decrepit floors and walls with sturdier structures. Mashkov would be damned if he let the building just fall apart on him.

But while the room itself had been restored, the furniture had been second-hand; all had been taken as late payments from those who owned him their very souls. They still owed him more than a ripped couch though, but sometimes providing relief from a staged execution would encourage better business.

Resting comfortably in his chair, Mashkov greeted his last arrival. "It is good to see you Neski."

"You're looking very well, Sir," Neski replied. "Your continued health brings me much relief."

Mashkov let the corner of his mouth twitch, the closest thing he would give to a smile. "Tell me, have you found arsonist yet?"

Neski bowed his head before answering, "No Sir, but we're getting close."

"Close?" Mashkov asked pleasantly. Then like a bullwhip, his arm flew up and his hands slammed onto the table. From the force exerted, the table creaked ominously. "Find him now!" he roared, scaring the men in the room. "This man hurt business. My business! He is nuisance that won't go away! If you cannot find this man, I find someone that will!"

Neski trembled as he nodded his head, gulping. "Yes Sir, I will find him."

Mashkov relaxed in his chair. "Good. I don't need to tell you what happens if you fail."

"N-no, Sir."

"That is good," Mashkov said. "I like you. I would hate for something bad to happen to someone I like."

Silence followed that statement as Neski didn't have the balls to say anything more. In fact, he knew braver men who didn't have the balls to say anything to him when he was…angry. He tended to get carried away…

He blinked, recalling he was in the middle of something. "Let's go to simpler topic: what is happening at port? I hear somewhere that authority is becoming strict. You are handling it, da?"

"It's the new port authority and he's demanding a higher fee," Neski reported, becoming more relaxed. "Fortunately, that will not be a problem for much longer. I hear that some individuals are unsatisfied with him and may take preemptive measures."

"Anyone you know?" Mashkov asked.

"No one that can be tied to me," Neski boasted.

Suddenly, the lights cut out, filling the room with therkness. Immediately, there were cries of surprise along with the sounds of several men drawing their guns. Mashkov could hear the audible clicks of the gun hammers being cocked back. Although alarmed, the Russian kept to his chair, keeping himself calm. It was most likely the generator went out and caused the black out—this was a poor neighborhood after all. Besides, the men in this room were getting paid to protect him, so it was good to see…hear them on their feet.

"Someone get lights back on!" one of the men shouted angrily.

"Quiet all of you," Neski fired back, seeking control of the situation. "One of you, go check outside and see if this is a neighborhood thing. The rest of you stay calm." Finally, that weasel of a man was doing his job. Some semblance of order was being—

That's when he felt it. It was as if a stray breeze had lightly graced his face. Though it wasn't anything that would normally be setting off sirens in the Russian's head, he knew that he shouldn't have been feeling it. Who had heard of a breeze being inside of a windowless room?

Apparently, a couple of the others had felt it too as one of them asked out loud, "Did anyone feel that?"

A scream suddenly rang out, causing all of the men to jerk to its source. No one made any other move due to their lack of sight. A moment crawled by before Mashkov felt that breeze once more and another ear-piercing shriek filled the room.

That had proven enough for the other men in the room. One man shouted out as he began firing his gun, followed by the shouts and gun discharges by the other men. Bursts of light from the firearms lit up all over the room, causing Mashkov to press himself further into the back of his chair in an attempt to keep from being shot. It was because of the lights that he caught glimpses of something flying all over the room, picking off his men one at a time, their terror-filled screams ringing out as they were assaulted. One moment a man would be standing there, firing his gun; the next he'd be jerked to a side. A few of them looked as if they were hit by a truck. A rather loud scream filled Mashkov's ears as someone went flying by his head. Panicked eyes darted from side to side as the man tried to follow the madness that was occurring before him. Horror filled the Russian as he realized the number of men still standing were plummeting at impossible speeds.

And then the room fell silent. The only thing Mashkov could hear was the sound of his own harsh breaths. His heart pounded in his chest while his arms shook on the armrests of his chair. A bead of sweat trailed down from his forehead as the silence around him lengthened.

That was when the lights began flickering back on, slowly at first, but eventually staying lit with a steady drone. Right in front of him, the Russian found a large mass of darkness perched on the table in front of him. Although appearing malformed, Mashkov could make out a head with twin horns emerging from its crown; white, murderous eyes were glaring at him, causing an unfamiliar feeling to grip the man's heart. If he had to call it anything, he would have said fear. The Russian couldn't tear his eyes away from this creature, ignoring the sight of crumpled bodies scattered about the room, broken and shattered pieces of guns sprinkled on the floor. The walls and ceiling were covered with bullet holes, some of which were still smoking.

That was when something shot out from the dark mass and grabbed the collar of Mashkov's shirt. Immediately, the Russian felt the familiar shape of fingers against his neck, the cold touch of some cloth roughly scratching against his skin as the hand twisted his collar, causing him to choke.

Then with a powerful tug, Mashkov found himself pulled out of his chair and held right in front of the mass' face. Faintly, he could make out the sight of a human-looking mouth at the bottom of his sight, though that was the least of the Russian's worries. With eyes wide with terror, he stared into the white eyes that bored into his. More sweat appeared on his forehead, trickling down the sides of his face as fear caused his breath to quicken further.

Mashkov lost all sense of time as his mind came up with horrible scenarios of this…this…this thing ripping him apart and feasting on his entrails. There were other images, but that one featured prominently in his head. He was on the verge of hyperventilation, his mind unable to imagine anything more horrifying that this one moment.

And then it spoke.

"Valdimir Mashkov," it growled. "We need to talk."